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A bowl of harissa tofu puffs and tahin noodles with some lettuce peaking out of the edges, with two bamboo handles sticking out of the plate. There is an out of focus slice of lemon in the foreground and there are a blue checkered towel and a small bowl of harissa in the background

Vegan Harissa Tofu and Tahin Noodles

Dorothy Porker
Spicy crisp tofu puffs served with earthy noodles make this a perfect vegan lunch or summery dinner.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Tofu pressing time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main course
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Small food processor or pestle and mortar
  • Sheet pan or similar flat surface
  • Kitchen towels
  • Heavy object, like a Dutch oven
  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment
  • Small bowl

Ingredients
  

For the harissa - you can also buy ready made harissa

  • 1/4 t - 2 gr coriander seeds ground works but isn't as nice
  • 1/4 t - 2 gr fennel seeds same
  • 2 T - 30 ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 T - 30 gr tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic smoked if you have them
  • 1 T - 15 ml lemon juice fresh preferred
  • 4 T - 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T - 20 gr sweet paprika powder smoked if you have it
  • 1/4 t - 2 gr chili flakes chipotle if you have it
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper

For the tofu puffs - you can also buy ready made tofu puffs

  • 7 oz - 200 gr firm tofu this will not work with other types of tofu
  • 2 T - 30 gr corn starch rice or potato flour also work
  • 2 T - 30 ml neutral oil I use sunflower

For the noodles

  • 7 oz - 200 gr udon noodles or other noodles of choice
  • 3 small shallots finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 T - 15 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 T - 15 ml water
  • 2 T - 30 gr sesame oil
  • 2 T - 30 gr tahin
  • 3 T - 45 ml soy sauce or tamari

To serve

  • 2 handfuls mesclun or other salad mix of choice

Instructions
 

Make the harissa

  • Toast 1/4 t - 2 gr of coriander and fennel seeds each in a dry skillet until aromatic, 2 minutes or so. Skip this step if you're using ground spices.
  • Add the toasted coriander and fennel seeds, 2 T - 30 ml of red wine vinegar, 2 T - 30 gr of tomato paste, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 T - 15 ml of lemon juice, 4 T - 60 ml of olive oil, 1 1/2 T - 20 gr of sweet paprika, 1/4 t - 2 gr of chili powder and pinches of nutmeg, black pepper and salt to a small food processor and blend on high until smooth. Taste and add more salt or spice as you see fit. If you don't have a food processor you can do this with a pestle and mortar and a lot of elbow grease.

To make the tofu puffs

  • You can skip pressing the tofu if you're in a rush, but it gives much better results than unpressed tofu as this tends to be waterlogged.
  • Press 7 oz - 200 gr of tofu for at least 30 mins. You can do this by placing the tofu on some kitchen towels on a sheet tray, placing more kitchen towel on top and then balancing a heavy object on top of that. If you don't have a Dutch oven a large pot with a bunch of books in them will do the trick.
  • Once the tofu has been pressed, preheat an oven to 365° F/ 185° C and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Cut the tofu into cubes of 1"x1" - 2x2 cm.
  • Mix together 2 T - 30 gr of corn flour and 2 T - 30 ml of sunflower oil to make a slushy paste.
  • Coat the tofu cubes or slabs in the corn flour/ oil slushy.
  • Place the tofu cubes, blocks or slabs on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the tofu has become puffy and golden. Turn them at the halfway mark. Be sure to leave the oven on after 15 minutes because we're not done yet.
  • You can start making the noodles while the tofu is baking.
  • Mix the tofu with 2 T - 15 gr of the harissa and then place them back onto your baking sheet. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the tofu puffs from the oven and mix with another 2 Tof harissa.

Make the noodles

  • Make 7 oz - 200 gr of udon noodles according to the directions on the packet.
  • While the noodles are cooking, saute 3 minced shallot and 2 cloves of garlic in 1 T of sunflower oil in the skillet you used to dry-roast the spices earlier. Once the garlic and shallots have gone soft and translucent add them to a small bowl along with 2 T - 15 ml of sesame oil, 2 T - 30 gr of tahin, 1 T - 15 ml of water and 3 T - 45 ml of soy sauce. Whisk to combine.
  • Once cooked, toss the drained noodles with the sauce until evenly coated.

To serve

  • Place the noodles, tofu and mesclun on a plate. Add more harissa if you want.

Notes

Provided you keep the elements (the tofu puffs, noodles and mesclun) separate, this recipe will keep for about 1 day in the fridge or on the road.
Reheat the tofu puffs briefly in a hot oven and let the noodles come to room temperature before digging in unless you love cold stodgy noodles.
Keyword easy vegan, noodle bowl, noodles, tahin, tofu, vegan